Week after week, the postcards arrive, addressed to a name Ellie does not know, with no return address, each signed with an initial: A.
With their bright skies, blue seas and alluring images of Greece, these cartes postales brighten her life. After six months, to her disappointment, they cease. But the montage she has created on the wall of her flat has cast a spell. She must see this country for herself.
On the morning Ellie leaves for Athens, a notebook arrives. Its pages tell the story of a man’s odyssey through Greece. Moving, surprising and sometimes dark, A’s tale unfolds with the discovery not only of a culture but also of a desire to live life to the full once more.
Beloved, bestselling author Victoria Hislop’s Cartes Postales from Greece is fiction illustrated with photographs that make this journey around Greece, already alive in the imagination, linger forever in the mind.
Ahdaf Soueif - The Map of Love
At either end of the twentieth century, two women fall in love with men outside their familiar worlds. In 1901, Anna Winterbourne, recently widowed, leaves England for Egypt, an outpost of the Empire roiling with nationalist sentiment. Far from the comfort of the British colony, she finds herself enraptured by the real Egypt and in love with Sharif Pasha al-Baroudi. Nearly a hundred years later, Isabel Parkman, a divorced American journalist and descendant of Anna and Sharif has fallen in love with Omar al-Ghamrawi, a gifted and difficult Egyptian-American conductor with his own passionate politics. In an attempt to understand her conflicting emotions and to discover the truth behind her heritage, Isabel, too, travels to Egypt, and enlists Omar's sister's help in unravelling the story of Anna and Sharif's love.
Ann Brashares - The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
They were just a soft, ordinary pair of thrift-shop jeans until the four girls took turns trying them on--four girls, that is, who are close friends, about to be parted for the summer, with very different sizes and builds, not to mention backgrounds and personalities. Yet the pants settle on each girl's hips perfectly, making her look sexy and long-legged and feel confident as a teenager can feel. "These are magical Pants!" they realize, and so they make a pact to share them equally, to mail them back and forth over the summer from wherever they are. Beautiful, distant Lena is going to Greece to be with her grandparents; strong, athletic Bridget is off to soccer camp in Baja, California; hot-tempered Carmen plans to have her divorced father all to herself in South Carolina; and Tibby the rebel will be left at home to slave for minimum wage at Wallman's. Over the summer the Pants come to represent the support of the sisterhood, but they also lead each girl into bruising and ultimately healing confrontations with love and courage, dying and forgiveness. Lena finds her identity in Greece and the courage not to reject love; Bridget gets in over her head with an older camp coach; Carmen finds her father ensconced with a new fiancée and family; and Tibby unwillingly takes on a filmmaking apprentice who is dying of leukemia. Each girl's story is distinct and engrossing, told in a brightly contemporary style. Like the Pants, the reader bounces back and forth among the four unfolding adventures, and the melange is spiced with letters and witty quotes. Ann Brashares has here created four captivating characters and seamlessly interwoven their stories for a young adult novel that is fresh and absorbing. (Ages 12 and older)
Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
One of the most important and influential books written in the past half-century, Robert M. Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" is a powerful, moving, and penetrating examination of how we live... and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better. Here is the book that transformed a generation: an unforgettable narration of a summer motorcycle trip across America's Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son. A story of love and fear - of growth, discovery, and acceptance - that becomes a profound personal and philosophical odyssey into life's fundamental questions, this uniquely exhilarating modern classic is both touching and transcendent, resonant with the myriad confusions of existence... and the small, essential triumphs that propel us forward.
Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels
Considered the greatest satire ever written in English, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels chronicles the fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, principally to four marvelous realms: Lilliput, where the people are six inches tall; Brobdingnag, a land inhabited by giants; Laputa, a wondrous flying island; and a country where the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses, are served by savage humanoid creatures called Yahoos. Beneath the surface of this enchanting fantasy lurks a devastating critique of human malevolence, stupidity, greed, vanity, and short-sightedness. A brilliant combination of adventure, humor, and philosophy, Gulliver’s Travels is one of literature’s most durable masterpieces.
Alex Garland - The Beach
Late at night in a seedy hotel, Richard is drawn into a strange conversation with a fellow guest. Through a narrow strip of mosquito netting he hears for the first time of a secret beach, an island Garden of Eden, hidden somewhere in the scattered islands of a Thai marine park. The next morning, Richard finds a map pinned to his door, and the man who put it there has slashed his wrists. The challenge is irresistible, and Richard sets off on a perilous journey in search of Shangri-La.
Graham Joyce - Smoking Poppy
Graham Joyce travels to an enthralling, suspense-charged landscape in this hallucinatory novel of a father's quest to save his daughter -- without destroying himself. Dan Innes has received shattering news from the British Embassy in Bangkok: his daughter, Charlie, whom he hasn't seen or spoken to in two years, has been imprisoned in a Thai jail for drug smuggling. Angry, terrified, seething with reprimands and questions, Dan leaves for Thailand. But the jail at Chiang Mai marks the beginning of his search rather than the end. Following the faintest of trails up into the lawless, dangerous mountain region near Myanmar, where opium grows abundantly, Dan must retrace Charlie's steps -- and brave the same traps that have swallowed her...on a terrifying mission of self-discovery, blind faith, and salvation.
Paulo Coelho - The Valkyries
Why is it we destroy the things welove the most? This is the question Paulo Coelho, the author of The Alchemist, faces in this story of his confrontation with his past. The Valkíries is a compelling account of his journey, as Paulo and his wife embark on a forty-day quest into the searing heat of the Mojave Desert, where they encounter the Valkíries, strange warrior women who travel the desert on motorcycles. This is not only a modern-day adventure, it is also an exploration of one man's battle with self-doubt and fear, as well as a true story of two people striving to understand and one another through destiny. Ultimately, The Valkíries delivers a powerful message about fogiving our past and believing in our future.
Jules Verne - In Search of the Castaways; or the Children of Captain Grant
In Search of the Castaways (French: Les Enfants du capitaine Grant, lit. The Children of Captain Grant) is a novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1867-1868. The original edition, by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Edouard Riou. In 1876 it was republished by George Routledge & Sons as a three volume set titled "A Voyage Round The World". The three volumes were subtitled "South America", "Australia", and "New Zealand". The book tells the story of the quest for Captain Grant of the Britannia. After finding a bottle cast into the ocean by the captain himself after the Britannia is shipwrecked, Lord and Lady Glenarvan of Scotland contact Mary and Robert, the young daughter and son of Captain Grant, through an announcement in a newspaper. Moved by the children's condition, Lord and Lady Glenarvan decide to launch a rescue expedition. The main difficulty is that the coordinates of the wreckage are mostly erased, and only the latitude (37 degrees) is known; thus, the expedition would have to circum-navigate the 37th parallel. Remaining clues consist of a few words in three languages. They are re-interpreted several times throughout the novel to make various destinations seem likely.
Mark Twain - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer / The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
With an Introduction and Notes by Stuart Hutchinson, University of Kent at Canterbury. Tom Sawyer, a shrewd and adventurous boy, is as much at home in the respectable world of his Aunt Polly as in the self-reliant and parentless world of his friend Huck Finn. The two enjoy a series of adventures, accidentally witnessing a murder, establishing the innocence of the man wrongly accused, as well as being hunted by Injun Joe, the true murderer, eventually escaping and finding the treasure that Joe had buried. Huckleberry Finn recounts the further adventures of Huck, who runs away from a drunken and brutal father, and meets up with the escaped slave Jim. They float down the Mississippi on a raft, participating in the lives of the characters they meet, witnessing corruption, moral decay and intellectual impoverishment. Sharing so much in background and character, these two stories, the best of Twain, indisputably belong together in one volume. Though originally written as adventure stories for young people, the vivid writing provides a profound commentary on provincial American life in the mid-nineteenth century and the institution of slavery.
Peter Carey - His Illegal Self
Raised in isolated privilege by his New York grandmother, Che, the precocious son of 60s radicals, just wants to see his parents. But first he must become an outlaw himself, fleeing to a hippy commune in the jungle of tropical Queensland, where he is forced to slowly, bravely, confront his life. His Illegal Self is an achingly beautiful and emotional story of the love between a young woman and a little boy, and a wonderful journey of self-discovery.
Jules Verne - Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea
The "man who invented the future," French novelist Jules Verne fanned mankind's desire to explore earth's hidden territories. His prophetic 1870 adventure novel, featuring a fabulous underwater craft commanded by the brilliant and mysterious Captain Nemo, predated the deep-water submarine. Weaving amazing scientific achievements with simple, everyday occurrences, this memorable tale brims with detailed descriptions of a futuristic vessel and bizarre scenes of life on the ocean's bottom. On-board travelers view Red Sea coral, wrecks of a historic naval battle, Antarctic ice shelves, and the fictional Atlantis. In addition, they confront a giant squid and belligerent cannibals, among other rousing adventures. The crowning achievement of Verne's literary career, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea not only influenced H. G. Wells and future generations of writers, but also inspired numerous films.
Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels (Penguin Readers)
Gulliver travels across the sea from England and has an accident. He arrives in a country of very, very small people. What will they do with him? How will he talk to them? And why are the Big-enders fighting the Little-enders?
John Irving - Until I Find You
This is the story of the actor Jack Burns, the bastard son of Alice, a tattoo-artist. Alice and Jack travel through the Baltic's port cities in search of William Burns, Jack's absconding father and "ink addict". But William, a church organist and profligate womaniser, is always one step ahead - always departing in a wave of scandal, with a new tattoo somewhere on his body from a local "scratcher". William can't be found and Jack must grow up without a father. His childhood and education shaped by sexual experiences with older women. Later, as a young man with a beautiful face, Jack moves to Hollywood where international fame and stardom await. But with the shadow of his absent father always looming, Jack sets off again in search of the truth. An absorbing and moving book about obsession and loss, truth and storytelling, the signs we carry on us and inside us, and the traces we can't get rid of, Until I Find You is John Irving's giant tapestry of life's hopes. It is a masterpiece to compare with Irving's great novels, and restates his position as the most glorious, comic, moving novelist at work today.
Mark Twain - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Long cherished by readers of all ages, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is both a hilarious account of an incorrigible truant and a powerful parable of innocence in conflict with the fallen adult world. The mighty Mississippi River of the antebellum South gives the novel both its colorful backdrop and its narrative shape, as the runaways Huck and Jim—a young rebel against civilization allied with an escaped slave—drift down its length on a flimsy raft. Their journey, at times rollickingly funny but always deadly serious in its potential consequences, takes them ever deeper into the slave-holding South, and our appreciation of their shared humanity grows as we watch them travel physically farther from yet morally closer to the freedom they both passionately seek.
Jules Verne - Around the World in Eighty Days
Phileas Fogg is the most laconic and orderly of men. His house in Saville Row is run like clockwork and his routine is meticulous. Passepartout, his new servant, is looking for a quiet life, but he is to be disappointed: on the very day he is employed, his master tells him to pack at once for a journey around the world. At his club that day, Fogg bet half his fortune that he could travel the world in an easterly direction in eighty days; so he and Passepartout begin their voyage. But Detective Fix of Scotland Yard finds it coincidental that Fogg should want to escape England in such a hurry while there is a robber on the loose. Convinced they are one and the same person he joins them on the first leg of their epic travels. A race against time to save face and fortune, Around the World in Eighty Days is both a thrilling and humorous adventure and a classic story of travel in an age gone by.
Elizabeth Gilbert - The Signature of All Things
5 January 1800. At the beginning of a new century, Alma Whittaker is born into a perfect Philadelphia winter. Her father, Henry Whittaker, is a bold and charismatic botanical explorer whose vast fortune belies his lowly beginnings as a vagrant in Sir Joseph Banks's Kew Gardens and as a deck hand on Captain Cook's HMS Resolution. Alma's mother, a strict woman from an esteemed Dutch family, has a knowledge of botany equal to any man's. It is not long before Alma, an independent girl with a thirst for knowledge, comes into her own within the world of plants and science. But as her careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she comes to love draws her in the opposite direction. The Signature of All Things is a big novel, about a big century. It soars across the globe from London, to Peru, to Philadelphia, to Tahiti, to Amsterdam. Peopled with extraordinary characters - missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses and the quite mad - above all it has an unforgettable heroine in Alma Whittaker, a woman of the Enlightened Age who stands defiantly on the cusp of the modern.
Lyn Hamilton - The Magyar Venus
Roommates from college draw Lara McClintoch into an encounter with an old lover and the mystery surrounding a 25,000 year-old statue. To determine if the antiquity is real or fake, Lara traces the path of a 19thC adventurer who is said to have found the statue in Hungary. Both her old lover and her old college friends follow her to Budapest. Lara learns that digging up the past can be dangerous, whether it is someone else’s or your own in this Arthur Ellis-nominated crime novel.
Toni Morrison - Song of Solomon
This is the story of Macon ''Milkman'' Dead, as he makes a voyage of rediscovery, travelling southwards geographically and inwards spiritually. Through the enlightenment of one man the novel recapitulates the history of slavery and liberation.
Sue Leather - Desert, Mountain, Sea (Oxford Bookworms)
Three different parts of the world, but all of them dangerous, lonely places. Three different women, but all of them determined to go - and to come back alive! Robyn Davidson walked nearly 3,000 kilometres across the Australian desert - with a dog and four camels. Arlene Blum led a team of ten women to the top of Annapurna - one of the highest mountains in the world. Only eight came down again. Naomi James sailed around the world alone, on a journey lasting more than 250 days.